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Bright Eyes/Sons and Daughters
November 4, 2005 – Moore Theatre – Seattle, WA
by Ashley Graham

Halfway through their set, Sons and Daughters’ lead singer Adele Bethel wraps the microphone chord around her neck, yanking it tightly from behind to the uncertain horror of her audience. She’s blasting through the best of her band’s unfortunately still small catalog, and it’s a little unclear what everyone’s thinking of their ferocious stage presence. Singer Scott Paterson’s vocals are extra gruff tonight, drummer David Gow is slamming his kit, and even normally sedate Ailidh Lennon’s bouncing from one side to the other.

Then there’s Bethel—delivering her lines with a power that may rival any previous opening act… ever, the words spewing from her mouth with biting intensity. And that’s meant literally—Adele Bethel could quite literally bite your head off. All of the goods are there—last year’s incredible single “Johnny Cash,” featured on the band’s haunting tribute to the man in black,
Love the Cup, along with new single “Dance Me In,” and the shiver-inducingly intimidating “Rama Lama,” which solidifies Paterson’s role as Bethel’s perfect friend-turned-enemy.

The unsettled feeling in the crowd is likely inevitable, but one thing is so clearly certain: Sons and Daughters are fucking awesome. With opening slots on high profile tours with Franz Ferdinand, Clinic, The Decemberists and now Bright Eyes, as soon as the buzz kicks in we’ll see Sons and Daughters further up on the bill. Sons and Daughters get one thing so right it nearly knocks the night on its head—they are still impossible to forget as their audience streams out of the theatre at night’s end.

But, fear not, the almighty Oberst’s still got it. After a so-so outing last spring with his electronic side, Bright Eyes returned this time around with a promise emblazoned on every ad and detailed by every ticket buyer: “Performing songs from the entire Bright Eyes catalog.” Excellent. Oberst ballsily leaves out “Lover I Don’t Have to Love,” “Landlocked Blues” and “Bowl of Oranges,” but the adoration is undoubtedly still present (replete with, finally!, not ONE declaratory “I love you, Conor!”).

“Old Soul Song (For The New World Order),” “Sunrise, Sunset” and “The Calendar Hung Itself” all make noteworthy appearances, along with one of Oberst’s most powerful songs to date, “Lua,” which is the tearjerker of the night (meaning, a little disappointedly, no “Waste of Paint”). These large theatres Oberst is now able to sell out may create a distance with the content, but there is such a strong underlying intimacy in Oberst’s delivery that no one in the room can question his sincerity. All gushing aside, Oberst is a talent, and we’re all lucky to be around while he’s making music.

Bright Eyes’ tour lasts through November with openers Feist and Magic Numbers. Sons and Daughters play throughout Europe in November before heading to Australia for the first half of December. More information is available at
www.saddle-creek.com and www.sonsanddaughtersloveyou.com.